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How Patreon helps creators connect safely

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Crowdfunding resource for creators

Patreon is an international platform used by artists ranging from musicians, webcomic artists, and YouTube content creators. It allows creators to obtain funding from their fans or patrons, on a recurring basis (subscription), or per work of art on a one-time basis. Patreon can be accessed on mobile apps (Android, iOS, regular mobile) as well as desktop. Through their wide reach, Patreon helps artists and creators to successfully make a living off of their work and to provide an exemplary experience to their users.


Costly and growing fraud

Patreon’s work connecting fans with creators poses unique challenges, particularly around content, account, and payment fraud. Because their platform relies on the instantaneous transfer of funds—unlike in a traditional e-commerce model where a purchased good can be held while cardholder identity is verified—it is imperative to prevent payment fraud before it occurs. Payment fraud for Patreon comes in the form of either money laundering or traditional credit card fraud—and almost always, there are stolen credit card credentials at play. As their global reach grew, chargebacks and their resulting fees began to rise as well. In addition, manual review of listings and shared content was not keeping up with the rapidly expanding platform community. Patreon, a young and agile company with no fraud prevention measures in place, needed a content abuse and fraud solution that could scale with the business and would ensure the user experience remained seamless.


Workflows that fuel automation

Patreon hired Maritza Dominguez for her experience in building, scaling, and managing a smart in-house fraud team. Having worked with Sift in the past—and having had great success automating on Sift Score accuracy and easy feature analysis—Maritza decided to try out the solution for Patreon’s unique business. Within just a few days of implementing Sift, Patreon had a fully customized model to best suit their needs. Utilizing Sift’s Score API, they were able to automate portions of their fraud management system and to block risky content, users, and transactions over a certain score threshold; they use the Sift Score to easily view a user’s riskiness level. When Maritza needs to dive deeper, she investigates signals in the Sift Console, exploring key data points like user behavior, network visualizations of connected accounts, and important addresses linked to the user.

Patreon trusts Sift. If Sift gives us a score of 90, we know that that’s fraud—there’s no need to double check. Our error rate is as close to zero as it can get.

Maritza Dominguez, Trust & Safety at Patreon


Enhancing the user experience

With Sift, Patreon is able to focus on connecting creators with their fans; they now can feel more secure with who they can and cannot trust. Patreon reduced their fraud losses by 95% with Sift, and they have been able to maintain a low fraud rate even as the community grows. With Sift, Patreon can continue to be the platform that helps fans to support creators and no longer lose sleep at night about their growing fraud losses.

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